Shivarapatna – crafting God

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Shivarapatna is a small hamlet where every household is involved in the art of stone sculpting for generations.

Driving the 60 km stretch from Bengaluru to Shivarapatna (in Malur, Kolar district, Karnataka) is close to 90 minutes, I am greeted by a well laid road with homes on either side all, of which have large stone sculptures. The clang of the chisel, bang of the hammer and whirr of an electrical cutter means the place is abuzz with activity. As I look around, I see idols of Hanuman, Ganesha, Lakshmi as well as Mahatma Gandhi and B.R. Ambedkar. Jostling for space are pillars and mandaps too. And I know this signals that I have arrived in the village belonging to the Vishwakarma community that is known for its stone sculptures.

Artists at Shivarapatna
Artists at Shivarapatna

After looking through many workshops, I finally pick up an idol of Hanuman carved in a single stone as a keepsake from the trip. I do not really bargain and pay the craftsman who tells me that the smaller idols need more effort as the surface area that they work on is smaller and hence needs more precision. As I drive back, I only hope that the God makers get the recognition and assistance they need even if it needs some divine intervention.

Read the full story that first appeared in The New Indian Express dated Feb 14, 2021 here:

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